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Will English continue to be an official EU language?

Tuesday 19 July, 2016

Following the surprising Brexit vote result last month, the question has been raised in some areas of Europe as to whether or not the English language will continue to be used in the EU as an official language.  Naturally this poses a number of translation and interpreter issues for English speaking businesses wishing to do business with the EU.

Although the ban itself would mean that the language is not officially listed within the EU itself, many believe that English will continue to be used as a “working language”. It would take an agreement by all remaining countries for English to remain an official EU language.

Historically, all EU documents and legal transcripts are translated into each of the 24 official languages. Should English lose that official status, all British correspondence would have to be translated by the British themselves. Also, as English is one of only three languages used to apply for EU patents, it provides the English-speaking researchers and companies an additional edge over non-English speaking competitors who only speak their own language.

However, it is worth noting that the European Commission has countered that English remained the primary language used for everyday communication. Günther Oettinger, the German EU commissioner said "We have a series of member states that speak English, and English is the world language which we all accept”

Although it is unlikely to come to pass, that English will be completely stopped being used within the EU bloc, it is interesting to note that out of the top 10 languages that will be most important to British business, 50% are European according to the British Council.

The complete list of the most important languages, according to the British Council, are:

The final role for translation and interpreter services is yet to be seen, but what is clear is that there will be a need to support British businesses develop their new trade routes. Romo Translations are in a perfect position to provide this translation and interpreting support.

If you are looking at opening new trade routes and require translation or interpreter services, then we would welcome your call to discuss how we can help. 

0203 696 8680

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